Mutual recognition of skills

7th Regional Skills Technical Working Group (RSTWG) Meeting 2023

The 7th Regional Skills Technical Working Group (RSTWG) Meeting will be held on 28-29 September 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand. With Thailand as the ATC Vice-Chair and co-host, this meeting aims to provide updates on the MRS initiative and the pathways of strengthening MRS moving forward.

7th Regional Skills Technical Working Group Meeting, 28-29 September 2023, Bangkok, Thailand. © ILO


The regional integration into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has initially focused on mobility of professionals through Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs), and the development of ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) which has set an overall mutual recognition of skills framework in the region.  The Mutual Recognition of Skills (MRS) was launched in 2014 by ILO with the support of Government of Korea to complement these ASEAN initiatives by targeting low-to-middle skilled workers to respond to the situation that most intra-ASEAN migration is in these skilled categories and that those migrant workers are engaged in jobs without a legal recognition as skilled workers nor adequate pay and working conditions that reflect their skills.  

The Regional Skills Technical Working Group (RSTWG) was established in 2015 primarily as a technical-level working group that supports skills-related activities of the ILO with a focus on MRS.  The RSTWG has grown to be an effective mechanism for regional dialogue of AMS representatives to discuss, review, and provide strategic direction on issues pertinent to MRS, AQRF-TVET, and other common skills concerns. The RSTWG is attended by representatives of the AMS and the ASEAN Secretariat and meets annually. In taking MRS to a next stage, beyond the current pilot implementation, several key issues need to be addressed. Among them are how to better link MRS with employment of migrant workers; how to replicate MRS beyond the pilot implementation; and measures and processes needed to further integrate MRS into the existing ASEAN skills recognition initiatives.


The main objective for this meeting is to provide updates on the MRS initiative and to discuss the pathway to take MRS to a next stage to achieve lasting impact in ASEAN.

The objectives of the meeting are to:
  • share updates on skills initiatives within ASEAN;
  • share progress and achievements of the MRS pilot implementation for all 4 corridors, including lessons learned and best practices, including presentation of an operational manual for implementing MRS;
  • share developments on relevant skills initiatives in ASEAN (beyond skills recognition), such as digitization of skills in TVET; and
  • explore recommendations on how to strengthen MRS and the pathway beyond MRS, such as its integration with labor policy.
Based on these sharing of initiatives and their progresses, the meeting will explore areas of collaboration and synergies in terms of tools and procedures for skills recognition; and discuss models of collaboration that would facilitate a common or a more integrated framework.